Monday, October 24, 2011

Fredrikstad Week 16

Dear All,

So everything has been going good :) We had a really busy week which was good. At about 9am Sunday morning the Bishop called me and asked if I would give a talk that day in Sacrament meeting. I was a little caught off guard but I accepted anyway. I spoke about what it has been like to be a missionary in Norway. It was great practice for my homecoming talk ;) I think it went well though, it looked like only a few people were falling asleep haha.

We don't have any baptisms coming up before I leave yet.. We're working with a really special woman right now that I'm hoping will be baptized in the not too distant future. I'll be praying for it :)

It's strange to think I'll be coming home so soon. On Sunday, the bishop announced that I would be going home soon so this was my last talk here. I'm excited to see everyone at home again but it was kind of sad to think I'll have to say goodbye to everyone here. I'm looking forward to seeing you in 2 weeks though :D



Monday, October 17, 2011

Week 15 Fredrikstad

1st Picture - This is my "Is this really happening to me?" face :D

2nd Picture - The other night my companion was snoring like a wild gorilla and I couldn't get to sleep.. This is what time it was. He continued for about an hour after that when I finally got to sleep once he stopped haha.

Hello All,

I wanted to tell you about on Sunday afternoon we went to the Catholic church since we know the guy who plays guitar for them. It was a lot different than what we're used to in church on Sunday. But even if you put aside all the "small" details that are so different their was still one thing missing; the Spirit. I kept waiting and waiting but I still didn't feel anything. The closest I came to feeling something good was when we sang a few of the songs. It's nothing against that church or the people there but I gained a stronger testimony of why I go to our church on Sunday. The Spirit really is present in our meetings and it does testify of the truth! I am grateful for that :)



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week14 Fredrikstad

It has been a good week.

On Wednesday we went to the funeral for the son of one of the member's here. He was about 21 years old when he drowned. I was asked to dedicate the grave site, which a sweet experience. It was a nice funeral service that was done in the Norwegian Church. They had a guy sing "You Raise Me Up" and "Amazing Grace". He was a really good singer, sounded almost exactly like Josh Groban. I think the last funeral I went to was grandma Ileen's. It was sad to see the family and close friends saying their final "goodbye's" but I felt comfort and peace in knowing that he is not gone forever. I'm grateful that we were invited to attend. It was a good reminder, to me, of how precious life is and how quickly it can end. I'm so happy to know of what a great plan Heavenly Father has created for us :)

Sunday, fast and testimony meeting, was cool too. It was one of those days where everyone was practically racing each other up to the pulpit. The spirit was so great! One of our newer member's was sitting next to me. He leaned over and said he "felt this fantastic feeling that he just couldn't explain but that it felt wonderful." A few minutes later he got up and bore a great testimony of Priesthood Blessings and the temple. He had been unsure of whether or not he had a testimony. He then said, "I now know that I have a real testimony. I know this church is true and I'm so happy to be a member of it." It was cool :)

Earlier that morning I was studying/preparing to teach about Eternal Marriage and the Temple to two other recent converts in our ward. I've been having some really good studies the past couple of days; especially reading from the scriptures. Funny how much easier and more fun it can be to teach a lesson when you've been able to gain a stronger testimony of it beforehand. It's cool how the priesthood authority can really bind things both on earth and in heaven. I enjoyed teaching that lesson :)



Week13 Fredrikstad

Conference was soo good! There were so many things that just hit right home for me. We didn't get to see the Afternoon session on Sunday so I'm looking forward to watching it sometime soon but the rest were good. I really liked listening to President Monson, he was way funny and had very clear messages. I didn't write down much from what he said cuz I was listening so closely the whole time haha. I especially enjoyed what President Uchtdorf spoke about if you're ever feeling insignificant or alone, remember how much you matter to Him. It was a good one :)

I thought it was cool too how much we were encouraged to read the Book of Mormon to gain the Spirit more abundantly in our lives. It's such a powerful book, I'm so grateful we have it to read! It's so true, and it's true that the more you read the closer you come to Heavenly Father. I love reading in the scriptures.



Week12 Fredrikstad

This week has gone pretty well. I went on splits with Elder Sutton on Wednesday. We had a really good day. Two people accepted our invitation to be baptized in October so I'm praying they both work out. I noticed things became kind of harder the more success we had. It's nice to have some time to take it easy for a bit.

Conference next week will be broadcast in Moss so we're spending the weekend there with the other Elders. I'm so excited for conference! It's always such an uplifting experience.



Week11 Fredrikstad Autumn

Actually that past few days, including this morning, have been very good days :) Mom, I've been just edging to tell you this but it just clicked for me a little earlier today. So I didn't forget that you were going to fast for me I just hadn't thought about too much.. I am so grateful that you did though cuz it did a lot for me! For quite a long time Sundays have been fairly tough for me cuz of the stress and things that have to get done during church each week. This Sunday was different.. We actually had to do more than usual. We had to teach one class and then sing in Sacrament meeting. The day before I felt nervous but not like usual. Sunday morning came and I found myself able to notice when I started to feel anxious and even able to relax right after that. Which is not usually how it goes haha.. You may recall the last time I had to do something in front of the entire ward I was very nervous and sweat like crazy. Can you guess what happened this time? I didn't sweat at all, I was calm and able to sing with everything I had :-) It was a miracle.

I was comfortable all day at church. I had so many good conversations with people. It felt like a dam had been built to hold back all my blessings and suddenly the dam was broken haha. It was fantastic. My second miracle goes something like this.. A teacher from one of the local high school's called a few weeks ago and asked if we would come present the church to three different class periods. So this has kind of been something I've been dreading for a while just cuz of what has happened in the past when I've spoken in front of large groups.. But this time was different. This morning I woke up and I was nervous haha.. We began with the first presentation that would last 45 minutes. I was nervous up until I started to speak and then it was not a problem. I didn't sweat like a wild man ;) The Lord blessed me with the ability to say what I wanted to say and what he needed me to say. It was probably the most calm I've ever been, while giving a presentation, in my entire life. So thank you, mom, for your fasting that brought about miracles in my life.

On the mission front things are going nicely. We've been teaching a lot more lately and it has been really fun! One spiritual thought I've been sharing with members is from Abraham 3:4. Here it talks about how one day for the Lord is 1,000 years for us. I think it's cool to think about this scripture because if you say, for example, each person lives to be 80 years old. According to the Lord's time that would be approximately two hours. We're only on this Earth for a very short time. We may have many trials and challenges but if we endure for a time we will find lasting joy, peace and happiness to come. I heard a quote that says, "You only live once but if you live it right, once is enough." This thought has helped me to put many of my difficulties into perspective and to see all the blessings around me, which are many. Just a thought for the week :) I feel like that kind of sums up how my week went.

Week10 Fredrikstad

I think I forgot to mention this last week but I got a new companion. His name is Elder Burr and he's from Delta, Utah. Anyway we'll be serving together until November..

I've seen, very clearly, how hard Satan fights against the Lord's righteous causes. Especially when I start to see more success, then come the great storms of the adversary. I'm learning to laugh more at it though. I don't know how to explain it exactly but even though the pain is still the same I'm not angry about it like before. I have been blessed with ability to tolerate it a little bit more. Patience is a virtue right ? :) I don't want to jinx anything but I think I'm finally starting to get it haha.

My time is somewhat short today.. We were in Moss and then Drammen for most of the day. But I really am grateful for that quote. I printed it out to read a few more times :)



Week 9 Fredrikstad

We had a pretty good Fast and Testimony meeting. Many of the testimonies born had to do with trials and difficulties we all have to go through so we can grow. I guess it just really hit home for me cuz sometimes it feels like there's never a day I'm not working through one trial or another ya know? I've been trying to learn to accept each challenge and hopefully be able to welcome them since they are what help us come closer to God. It was a cool experience as well cuz I was able to translate for one of our new converts who doesn't speak Norwegian. I really felt like I was blessed with the gift of tongues. I think that was the best I've ever translated and I know I received help from above.

Better get going..